Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Facing the Giants

Oh dear. What do I say about this movie? It was a highly anticipated movie among the Christian community. I remember seeing a poster for it at church even before it came out. It's Netflix rating is 4.3 stars out of 5. In other words, it came with good recommendations.

The movie is about a football coach at a Christian high school. It follows his struggles to create a winning team and how he leads the kids to trust in God. The coach and his wife are also dealing with some difficult issues at home, including finances and infertility.

We watched it last night right after American Idol. I have to honestly say that I giggled throughout the first half of the movie - even the serious parts. The script and the acting were just so cheesy, I couldn't help it. At times I felt like I was watching a skit in the sanctuary, rather than a movie! (This was especially true during the conversations between the kicker and his father.) Finally, about half way through, things began to change a little and I was able to engage in the story line rather than focus on the acting. By the end, I was up on my knees in anticipation of the final play of the game. And, yes, I felt a little sting in my eyes as the coach collapsed under the overwhelming faithfulness and goodness of God.

The message was great. The acting and script got better as the movie went on. (My friend Christine did warn me about that.) And overall it was a feel good story with all the loose ends neatly tied up. A nice little Christian movie.

Comparing to the movies we normally watch, though, I couldn't possibly rate this movie very high. Why do Christian films have so much trouble being good? I'm sure that money is part of the problem, but are good scripts a money problem? I mean sometimes the dialogue was so hokey, it was totally distracting. It just doesn't make sense to me why Christian films can't compete and, really surpass, Hollywood movies. The quality must improve or even we Christians won't be willing to support the efforts.

In the end, is it worth seeing? I'd say "probably". It does have a good message Christine said, "if you can get past the acting."


If you're interested, here's the review from Christianity Today (an excerpt is below):

"One must also acknowledge that the film—made on a $100,000 budget by a Baptist church in Albany, Georgia—has its heart in the right place; there are good lessons here about honoring God in everything that we do, the importance of respect and leadership, and the power of prayer. Those are all things viewers could benefit from hearing. Whether they ever will hear them, though, is another matter—when a film is as unintentionally corny as this one, it's anyone's guess as to how many viewers can stomach all the schmaltz for the positive message at the end."


Christine said...

Here's my take on it. After viewing the "extras" on the DVD about the film making and hearing how this small church was able to put together the funds that they had to work with, I cannot help but respond with, "Wow!". It seems apparent the Lord's hand was providing them with the resources they needed to mainstream this movie. I have great admiration towards them for that. Not necessarily growing up in an environment of Christians who pegged how cheesy low budget things can be in the church realm, I feel I want to offer a different perspective on this. I think too often we (the Christian community) can get caught up with the presentation of things and are more critical than perhaps outsiders may be. We all easily criticize and become offended by the thought that Christians are being portrayed as any less than what we are. Christ calls us "His children", "heirs", and "His own", but He also commands us to die to our selves, be less so that He can be more in our lives. But how do we reach out to a world that doesn't see that, that sees so superficially (not excluding myself), to those that cannot see past some bad, sometimes torturous acting, in this case? It seems to me it is a matter of the heart when we make such a choice to bear through it or turn away from it. Is this an area where we are stepping on the toes of the Holy Spirit? Could it be that we really have no control over what someone else perceives us as? How do we know what others are really open to or blinded from? Isn't it the Holy Spirit who is responsible for giving us patience and the Lord who can open the eyes of our hearts?
I have spoken to quite a few people who have viewed this movie and it has changed their lives. That's powerful! Not that the movie itself holds that power, but it was a tool the Lord has chosen to use. I suppose He could use a secular movie to do the same if He so chooses to do, but I LOVE how He chooses the least of us (least likely) to do it!
Love you, Julie. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I hope I'm invited back even after you read this response :)

Julie said...

Of course you're invited back! Discussion is a good thing.

When I think of this movie in terms of a ministry tool, (created to start a discussion), I think it's ok. When I think of it in terms of a good movie to watch, I just don't think it's that good.

One reviewer on Rotten Tomatoes pointed out that the extras were far more interesting than the movie. Maybe we should've watched them. It was too late when the movie ended and we've already sealed the envelope.

Thanks for the other perspective!